DIY massage therapy can relax your eyes, neck and hands

19 December 2022 dot 4-minute read
Healthy Body Massage therapy Physical health Feel Well How to
"Tech or text neck" is caused by looking down at your phone often. (Credit: Shutterstock)
Many of us spend large amounts of time hunched over the computer or looking down at our phones. This results in hand pain, eyestrain and sore neck. As wonderful as a spa weekend sounds, DIY massage therapy on the most tired parts of the body might be the quick fix we need to relax.
Self-massage for beginners can start with acupressure, where the fingers massage the same pressure points used in acupuncture. In theory, pressure on acupoints triggers endorphins, which can help relieve pain. This also increases blood and oxygen flow, causing the muscles to relax.
Below are acupressure massage therapy techniques that require firm but not painful pressure. However, some tension and pain may need treatment from a professional massage therapist. Consult a medical professional to get better guidance on chronic pain and if you have underlying medical conditions or are pregnant.

Massage therapy to relieve eyestrain 

Since the 60s, Chinese children have been taught to practise periocular acupressure to prevent myopia. The effectiveness of acupoint self-massage remains inconclusive in kids. But it may improve "ocular blood flow and visual acuity" in adults based on a study published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
Directions: press and apply circular motions using the thumb or forefinger on the following acupressure points for 20 seconds each. Make sure you wash your hands with soap before the massage.
Acupuncture points:
  • Tai Yang (EX-HN5): midpoint between the outer edge of the eye and the edge of the eyebrow of your temple. 
  • Yu Yao (EX-HN4): centre of your eyebrow directly above the eye pupil.
  • Jing Ming (BL1): inner corner of your eyes next to your nose bridge. 

Release tight neck

The glare of the screen or poor sitting posture can lead to eyestrain, headaches and neck and shoulder pain. (Credit: Shutterstock)
Unless you have a health condition like osteoarthritis or a herniated disk, neck pain or stiffness often stems from poor posture and muscle tension caused by stress or working on the computer all day.
Research published in the Journal of Physical Fitness, Medicine and Treatment in Sports showed that acupressure performed better in pain management than Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy.
Directions: press and rub each of the following acupressure points with an up-and-down stroking motion. 
Acupuncture points:
  • Feng Chi (GB20): four fingers' width separate the points on the left and right side of the head at the bony base of the skull, where two soft depressions can be felt lateral to the thick tendons at the back of the neck.
  • Luo Zhen (Ex-UE14): the space between the knuckles of the pointer and the middle finger at the back of the hand (massage the point on the left hand if the right side of the neck is stiff, and vice versa).
  • Kun Lun (UB 60): the depression where the fibula and heel bone meet.

Ease wrist and hand pain

Daily self-massage therapy can include acupressure for stress and pain management. (Credit: Shutterstock)
Daily computer work may lead to repetitive stress on the hands and wrists, causing numbness or pain. Massage therapy can help but have a medical check-up if your hand and forearm experience increasing pain or weakness. It may be carpal tunnel syndrome, which can worsen if left untreated.
Massage therapists recommend the following hand self-massage. 
  1. Spread your fingers wide with the palm up.
  2. Use upward strokes to massage each finger's base and the palm's centre below the knuckles.
  3. Repeat the action on the top of your hand and wrists bent downwards.
How to do acupressure massage for the hand: 
  • Press the muscle between the thumb and index finger and hold it for 15 seconds. Repeat on the other hand.
  • Massage the groove below the knuckles on the back of the hand between the pinkie and ring fingers (Zhong Zhu, TB3) for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other hand. 
While do-it-yourself massage therapy techniques can ease tension or pain, the relief may be temporary. Go to a certified therapist for therapeutic massages to target stress-related aches and help manage pain in medical conditions like arthritis. AIA Vitality contains additional resources and information on holistic preventive care, such as contact information for health professionals who can advise and improve your self-care toolkit.
International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. 2021. Acute and Chronic Periocular Massage for Ocular Blood Flow and Vision: a Randomized Controlled Trial. [online][Accessed on 1 September 2022]
Journal of Physical Fitness, Medicine & Treatment in Sports. 2017. Effects of Acupressure & TENS along with Hot Pack in Neck Pain. [online][Accessed on 1 September 2022]
Carrington College Blog. 2015. Simple Massage & Stretching Techniques to Relieve Hand & Wrist Tension. [online][Accessed on 1 September 2022]
Permanente Medicine. Acupressure for Neck Pain. [online][Accessed on 1 September 2022]
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans Health Administration. 2021. Acupressure for neck pain. [online][Accessed on 1 September 2022]
University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. 2021. Self-Massage – Forearm, Wrist, and Hand. [online][Accessed on 1 September 2022]

This is general information only and is not intended as financial, medical, health, nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a financial adviser, or medical or health practitioner in relation to your own personal circumstances.

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